Former Star Garage worker takes stand in $100,000 fraud case
A former employee at Star Garage has confirmed that there was an incident in which Bertille ‘Silky’ DaSilva, managing director of the Garage, did request defendant Eunice Dowers, facing fraud charges, to use his credit card to purchase an ‘Egglette’ for him.
Nigerian-born Eunice Dowers who worked at Star Garage first as a secretary, then as a customs broker, is now facing 55 charges related to the unlawful use of her CEO’s credit card and cheques.
The damage dealt by the alleged unlawful activity that took place between August 1, 2018 and January 31, 2019, is said to be over $100,000.
Witnesses have indicated that the card is a company credit card, allocated solely for Star Garage purposes, but the card itself was in the name of Bertille DaSilva.
Defence attorney Grant Connell has tried to establish that DaSilva and Dowers were in an intimate relationship, and one in which DaSilva bought things for Dowers, who was at the time a 24-year-old married woman.
The trial has been ongoing with the prosecution witness taking the stand, as called by crown counsel Rose-Ann Richardson.
Marlon Stevenson, former sales and marketing manager for the Garage, is a name that had been making an appearance.
He was said to have been using the credit card, along with general manager Joshua DaSilva, and the managing director, to order office supplies on Amazon when the card declined.
Stevenson’s name has also been mentioned in reference to an altercation that apparently resulted in Dowers walking off the job.
On Tuesday, June 2, it was Stevenson’s turn to take the stand at the Serious Offences Court (SOC). The accused was present, and appeared to be passing something that resembled a rosary through her hand before the start of the matter.
When Stevenson took the stand, he explained that he did make purchases from Amazon in his capacity as an employee, for items such as tools for the garage.
“First, you identify what it is you want and then I will create a screenshot and take it to Mr DaSilva (Bertille) showing the items, quantity, and price,” he told the court, and following the boss will review the list.
When he was finished with a purchase, Stevenson said a printed invoice was produced and filed.
Stevenson said that he did not purchase any personal items on the credit card, “for me, or anybody at Star Garage.”
“In Ms Dowers’ capacity as an employee of Star Garage, do you know if she was authorized to make purchases with the credit card?,” crown counsel Richardson asked him.
“Well to me – I remember an incident with something called an egglette,” Stevenson stated. “It was an item that Mr DaSilva apparently saw on television and wanted somebody to purchase for him. I do recall that Mrs Dowers was asked to purchase that item,” he continued.
It has been previously reported that another employee at the Garage testified to seeing Dowers purchasing what appeared to an egglette, and Dowers had told them that ‘Silky’ had asked her to buy one.
Stevenson said that he did not know if Dowers was authorized to make personal purchases.
“Have you ever purchased any household appliances using the credit card?”, “Any phone card credit?”, “Any beauty supplies, or any electronics?,” the prosecution pressed him.
To each one, the former sales and marketing manager replied that he did not.
Connell also questioned why Stevenson did not mention the Egglette in his statement to the police.
During his questioning the lawyer asked the former employee whether he agreed that he, Joshua DaSilva “and the other employees at Star Garage always had Ms Dowers as a discussion point. Anything she did, y’all tried to complain about isn’t that right? Including you.”
“Total fabrication. Not true,” Stevenson replied.
“You have complained to Silky DaSilva about this woman on several occasions and he did absolutely nothing about it?” Connell continued.
“Well I wrote the letters and gave them to him,” Stevenson revealed. Earlier on in the cross examination he was asked if he had complained about Dowers to ‘Silky.’
The former employee said that he made his observation, “saw an action” which did not fit, and brought it to the boss’ attention.
In order to reprimand her, Stevenson said that Bertille asked him to write a letter on his (Bertille’s) behalf, which would be sent as if it were from him.
The sales and marketing manager said he did not produce these letters to the police, and that no one asked him for them.
When asked about another incident where an employee supposedly took cheques to Bertille and complained about lack of receipts, Stevenson said this was not so, but there had been a complaint about 10 outstanding cheques.
“The standard was Star Garage would give a broker a blank cheque after the process they would come back, bring the documentation and you will complete the documentation in the office,” he told the court, “Ten outstanding cheques were there, that was what the complaint was about.”
The lawyer asked outright whether the two, Stevenson and Dowers, had a good working relationship, and the response was “at a time, yes.”
Stevenson said that once when Dowers was frustrated, packed up her bags and walked off, he stopped her from walking off the job because he empathized with her.
Additionally, Connell asked about the alleged altercation in February 2019.
“Is that (the defendant) the same woman you physically abused…when I say physically abused, I mean thump her in her face and body,”, Connell inquired of Stevenson.
Stevenson informed that he was contemplating bringing a case before the court on this matter.
The lawyer tried to ask about whether, before the altercation, Stevenson made “certain requests” of Dowers resulting in her using expletives on him. However, the prosecution objected on the grounds of relevance, saying that Stevenson was not on trial for alleged beatings and it is not know whether there were investigations into the matter.
However, later during the cross examination Connell questioned whether Stevenson wrote a letter to ‘Silky’ after the altercation.
To this Stevenson appeared to laugh for a prolonged time, before replying, “It is obvious that the CEO of the company would get involved and must know about the incident. The other thing which I’m sure the counsel knows the lady never came back to work.”
“What do you find funny, is it the scene or beating women? What exactly are you laughing for?,” Connell questioned, saying there was nothing funny about it.
Also giving evidence on this day was Sergeant Casanki Quow who took Dowers into police custody at the Argyle International Airport (AIA) on February 17, 2019.